7 Books To Feed Your Wanderlust When You’re Stuck At Home

During those long stretches between journeys, it’s easy to get lost in moping and reminiscing about prior adventures of being on the road, jumping a plane to brand spanking new destinations or just taking a road trip with some friends. Of course the most desirable treatment of a serious instance of the “travel bug” is to just volume a set of flights to somewhere exotic, but our lives, budgets and jobs don’t always allow for such extravagances. At least not mine…

So, I indicate the next best thing would be to get stuck into one of the below. Of course, you could watch a cinema, but how long will that immerse you in a country, tale or journey? Two hours at best?

No , no, what you need is a good read. One to truly get stuck into. Lost — lost like the various kinds of lost you get when you hop a tram in Lisbon and you don’t know where to get off, kind of lost. Lost like when you desperately try to mime your route through a conversation in Vietnamese, kind of lost. Lost like when your map reading abilities are such a let down and you’re completely lost, in the most literal sense of the word various kinds of lost.

From road-tripping the US, to exploring South American culture in the infamous San Pedro prison, to falling in love in Bali. Devote one of these a run, until it’s actually time to go…

“On the Road, ” Jack Kerouac

What’s it about?

Set in 1940 s America, the classic “On the Road, ” depicts the histories of Sal Paradise( Jack Kerouac’s alter ego) on his journey across America and into Mexico, along with his friend Dean Moriarty. It investigates the foundations and way of life for those who define themselves as part of the Beat and Counterculture generations, reveling in jazz, poetry, drugs and of course, being in a constant state of flux.

When’s it good for?

When you’re desperate to be on the road, living for the day, in search of sunlight, music, parties and sharing that with the best people you know. When the sundown is all you’re chasing, and it’s only you and the open road. That, and some poetic outlook on the journeys we take and how they drive everything we do.

Best travel quote

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”


“Marching Powder, ” Rusty Young

What’s it about?

Thomas McFadden is a young Brit who gets caught in the act of trying to smuggle cocaine out of Bolivia. He’s sent to San Pedro prison, which is anything but your median. Years down the line he gratifies Rusty Young, an Australian backpacker who befriends Thomas on one of the secret, illegal, walking tours Thomas runs for tourists through the prison. Rusty helps him tell the story of what’s it’s really like to be at the heart of South American narcotic culture.

When’s it good for?

When you’re missing South America, and the continent’s wonderful culture, elements of which are intertwined throughout the book. That and when you’re in the mood for a comical reality-check, reminiscing about La Paz( Bolivia) and what goes on behind closed doors.

Best travel quote

“San Pedro prison, apart from being a social microcosm, is also a microeconomy that operates under basic capitalist principles. In fact, it’s likely more efficient than the whole Bolivian national economy. And more democratic, too, but I’ll explain the prison election system to you another day.”


“Eat, Pray, Love, ” Elizabeth Gilbert

What’s it about?

Liz Gilbert detects content and happiness after losing everything she spent her life working towards to attain spouse, career, country house. The journey of how she gets there isn’t an easy one, especially as it’s major quality is being an internal one. On a more minor note, she travels through Italy, India and Bali to ultimately get there.

When’s it good for?

When you’re looking for inspiration for your next trip-up, and for periods when you’re dealing with some serious internal rumblings. Liz’s search for what matters can be done at home, but it’s her time in Italy, India and Bali that get you in the mood to take control and merely get on a plane, and out of your own headspace.

Best travel quote

“The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was stay; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving.”


“The Alchemist, ” Paolo Coehlo

What’s it about?

A Spanish shepherd son takes off on a quest for treasure, one which he dreamt of one night in the wilderness. His journey takes him to the Egyptian desert, on the way satisfying a gypsy woman, a man who claims he is a king and of course an alchemist, learning a little from each along the way. The treasure he discovers at the end will only be obvious to those who have travelled far and wide, only to, in the end, make it back home.

When’s it good for?

When you’re in the mood for a quick, easy read full of culture, wisdom and a magical narrative about the things you learn on the road. That, and if Egypt is on the cards for your next trip.

Best travel quote

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter one another, to fulfill, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”


“Wild, ” Cheryl Strayed

What’s it about?

Four years on from her mother’s death, Cheryl, completely driven merely by fierce will and almost a sense of “might as well, ” decides to hike over hundreds of thousands of miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert in California all the way to Oregon to Washington State. Alone. Literally a journey from lost to find, Cheryl’s mental and physical journeys leave you guessing as to which one is more challenging.

When’s it good for?

A great read when you’re facing challenges in your daily life, Cheryl’s journey shows you all you need is determination to get you there. That, and if you’re facing a big trek- educate, planning or looking for inspiration on the next one.

Best travel quote

“Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a manner that is I never had before.”


“Shantaram, ”David Roberts

What’s it about?

An escaped Australian convict, Lin, along with his friend and guide, Prabaker, escapes a maximum security prison in Australia and flees to India, where he can get lost amongst the crooks, slum life, beggars, soldiers, prostitutes, holy men and other exiles, who end up teaching him all about what India is.

When’s it good for?

When you’re looking for an all-encompassing, exotic and spiritual adventure through one of the most rewarding hubs of culture in the world- India!

Best travel quote

“There are no mistakes. Merely new routes to explore.”


“Seven Years in Tibet, ” Heinrich Harrer

What’s it about?

One of the first Europeans to ever enter Tibet, Heinrich Harrer escapes from British authorities after he is captured during the course of its outbreak of the Second World War. He stimulates his route through Tibet, surviving out of the goodness and generosity of villagers he passes on his journey. His charm and intelligence win him respect from the upper classes, eventually peaking the interest of the Dalai Llama himself.

When’s it good for?

When you’re lusting for travel, history, culture and adventure all in one. That, and for when you’re looking to explore Eastern culture at its most delicate and basic, as well as get lost in a tale which takes you through the beautiful scenery of the frozen Himalayas and across Tibet.

Best travel quote

“The country through which we had been traveling for days has an original beauty. Wide plains were diversified by stretchings of hilly country with low passes.”

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